Many RVers struggle with the idea of whether they should purchase a new or used RV.
And the truth is that there is no answer to that dilemma that works for everyone.
A lot depends on what your personal priorities are in an RV. For instance, cost of the RV, warranty coverage, better amenities, and more can come into play.
And what is a high priority for some, is low on the list for someone else.
So let’s lay out the overall pros and cons of whether you should buy a new or used RV. And then you can decide what are the most important issues for your needs.
Buy A New Or Used RV – Pros Of Buying New
- One of the best reasons for buying new is that you can know the history of the RV from the first day. There is no guessing about how it was maintained because you have cared for it from day one.
- You usually get a factory warranty that is very extensive. These kind of warranties often last about a year from the date of purchase. But they typically cover almost everything on the RV. And that is a huge comfort, especially if you are a new RVer just getting used to having a rig.
- Oftentimes new RVs have the very latest technology and features built into them. If that kind of thing is important to you, a new rig could be just what you need. And it can save a lot of money and time by having all the modern items built in from the factory instead of being added later.
- If you are allergic to pets and smoking, you can make sure that you don’t have to deal with those issues if you buy new.
- Also if you are a long-term RV buyer, you will get more years of solid service simply because it is new. If you buy used, you already have lost some of the best service life of that rig.
Buy A New Or Used RV – Cons of New RVs
- If you are questioning what you should buy, consider this – new RVs cost more. An RV will never be more expensive to buy than when it is new.
- It’s pretty much like buying a car, the first owner takes the big depreciation hit. So there is an inherent financial penalty for buying a new rig. Very often the depreciation loss can be 20% – 30% or even more.
- It may take you a year or more to get all of the bugs worked out of a new rig. It’s sad, but true. Quality control is not the best at many RV manufacturers these days. So you may have a long list of issues that will have to be fixed over the course of the first year of ownership. This requires a lot of patience to see it through.
- Higher insurance costs. Of course, the higher the cost of the rig, in most cases the higher your insurance costs will be.
- RV dealers can be difficult to work with. Not all RV dealers are solely sales driven without a lot of thought for the customer. But far too many of them are similar to the old proverbial used car dealer in their tactics. Many people find this to be a difficult and tedious process and want to avoid RV dealers altogether.
- Newer RVs often are not constructed as well as older RVs. This is especially true of rigs made before 2008, or before the economic crash. RVs built before then often were made to a higher standard at the factory. But in recent years, cheaper parts and materials are being used to lower production costs. This can result in a lower quality product all around.
The Pros Of Buying A Used RV
- Save money on overall RV cost and depreciation loss. This is probably one of the biggest reasons many RVers buy a used rig. In fact, the savings alone can make the choice for you. Very often, many thousands of dollars can be saved by choosing an RV that is just a couple of years old.
- Most of the bugs should be worked out by the first owner. As mentioned above, the first year of RV ownership is often spent fixing things. If you buy the RV after that warranty period, most likely many of the quality control issues have been repaired.
- The previous owner may have added some nice upgrades that you can use. Upgrades are great if they are useful, but they seldom are cost effective at the time of resale. So you may have some really nifty additional comforts built into the RV that doesn’t come as standard equipment.
- There are lots more used RVs than new RVs. That simple fact means that you will have plenty more rigs to choose from if you buy used.
- You can often buy a higher quality used rig for the same cost as a lower quality new RV. Depending on how far back you are willing to go, you may even get an RV that was top of the line.
- Of course, if the cost of RV replacement is less, then the cost of RV insurance will usually be less too. So used RVs tend to carry lower insurance costs as well.
The Cons Of Buying Used RVs
- Probably the main reason people don’t want to buy used is their fear that they may be buying a problem RV. They are worried that there may be unseen problems that will only be found after the sale. Of course, having a good RV inspection by a certified inspector can help ease those fears.
- There is no factory warranty anymore, so anything that goes wrong is a cost for the new owner. Again, this can be resolved by getting an aftermarket used RV warranty. But a good warranty will cost quite a bit of money too.
- The farther you go back into the past to buy an RV, the more dated it will be. The furnishings, the colors, the older technology will be what was standard whenever the RV was new. To bring the RV up to modern standards and appearance may cost quite a bit.
- All appliances and mechanical components wear out over time, even if they are well maintained. So if the RV is quite a bit older, you may be faced with a spate of replacements you hadn’t counted on. And even if that’s not the case, the usable life of these RV items is diminished. They won’t last as long as the same items in a new rig.
Lots of RVers buy new rigs and lots of others buy used instead. And both can be very happy with their purchase.
This is because ultimately, the satisfaction of the buyer is what determines whether the transaction was good or not.
If your priorities lead you to buy a newer RV, that’s fine. Enjoy it!
But if your priorities lead to the purchase of a used rig instead, there is nothing wrong with that either.
Hopefully, the pros and cons I listed above can help you to decide what is most important to you in the buying process.
Have safe and happy travels my friends!